January 9, 2012

Lessons and laughs

Barrie HANDS Team:

Wow, we’ve been here for a week now.  We’ve done and seen so much, it seems like longer.  Tomorrow will be our last day of work at Unity, which will be sad since it means saying farewell to our coworkers and the students we’ve come to know.  On Wednesday we’ll take a ‘cultural day’ to visit the coral reefs, and Thursday we’ll fly back, the Lord willing.

At the jobsite today we built large forms for the concrete beams... again!  Tomorrow will be more of the same.  On a project this size, even a team of 13 contributes only one specific job.  But during devotions tonight we were encouraged when Emmanuel said that we’re well ahead of where he thought we’d be.  And it helps to take the long view: a man from the new team, who was last here four years ago, couldn’t believe the progress.  The last he’d seen was a row of concrete piles poking out of the ground.  They were pounded 37 feet down to the bedrock, and at that point represented only dreams. 

As the picture of Paul and Mike shows, we’re having alot of fun with each other.  One person had so many bent nails hammered down in one spot that Emmanuel joked, “It looks like you’re trying to draw a flower!”  (The lumber is all hardwood, so the misery of bent nails has been common.)  At one point Paul was trying to explain his name to some kids, who thought he had said, ‘Bear-man’.  He said, “No, Beer-man’, like ‘Cervesa-Senior’.  The name stuck, and they now call him ‘Senior Cervesa’.  Finally, looking at all the photos at the day’s end is always a good laugh.  There are usually goofy or compromising pictures that Alicia takes, like people asleep after lunch or up to no good.  Those ones usually don’t make the blog (sorry!), but we have fun with them here!

Today the school principal Carolyn (Pastor Betson’s wife) said, “This school is such a great blessing from God.  The impact these teachers will have on the students are seeds that will grow fruit many years from now.  We may not see it now, but the love of Christ these students see in us will be felt their entire lives.”  The same can be said of all us, really, whether teachers or not.

The needs are certainly here.  Cor had an eye-opening conversation with three girls today.  They were giggling and eager to tell him, “I’m six!” “I’m seven,” and “I’m seven too.”  Cor chimed in that he was 62, and they giggled even more.  He said he’s a grandpa, and then he asked them about their families.  One girl had grandparents, but another didn’t, and also didn’t know where her dad was.  Another’s father had been shot and killed. 

We are sobered by the painful realities that many of these young children have endured.  But we’re so thankful to see how the love of Christ is a glorious beacon of light in their lives.  

Comments:

Alisa, Mitch, & Mark
Jan 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

Wow, hard to believe that a week has gone by already and this is your last day of work. We wish you a really good and productive last day! We are ready for you to come home :) We really miss you!!! Good job on the keeping us updated and love the pictures!!

Have a great day - our prayers go with you

Leo
Jan 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

Paul, the grade 7 & 8's checked the updates yesrterday. They send you their best wishes.

Cheryl, Nikki & Sydney
Jan 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

We laughed out loud at Paul's story of his name! We are so proud of the progress you've made. We hope you're last day was just as good and that you enjoy you're outing tomorrow! Thursday will be here before you know it! We will be praying for travelling mercies!

Danielle, Vincent, Alana, and Jolene
Jan 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

Only a few more days to go. It feels like it's been a long time since you all left. We are definately looking forward to having Paul return home (or should I refer to him as Senor Cervasa). Vince wants to say that he really misses dad and can't wait to play with him when he gets back. Praying for you all.

Pastor Mike
Jan 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Awesome Work you guys!

Enjoy the cultural day and have a safe trip home.

We'll try to have some fresh snow for you when you get back.

Mike

Agnes
Jan 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

It looks like everyone is having lots of fun. Wish I could have been there.

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